Report From Kade's Teacher

Looking for something on the counter I came across this note from Kade's teacher:

I'm pleased he's "one of the nicest students" and "not once did anyone complain of Kade hitting them, etc." (etc. ?).

A bit concerned that hitting was a problem.

I'm amused the teacher concluded that because no one hit Kade it means everyone likes him. I'll take that. Even though guys prize toughness, in practice it's better to avoid a fight altogether.

A "great sense of humor" I can believe. He's often clowning around at home making us laugh. (He excels at PBF humor, and belching.)

"He is also courageous". Uh, really? Did he lead the charge in dodgeball? Defend a girl's honor? Probably not. This is 1st grade. Perhaps he stood up for himself or a classmate, or simply walked up to the front of the class when the teacher asked him to. I'd like to ask Mrs. Greene about this.

Kade reads quite a bit so I'm not surprised he's doing well. But math, don't all kids hate math? I guess if he dislikes it he's still good at it.

I found a few things in this note amusing but overall I'm glad Mrs. Greene took the time to gives us some feedback. Teaching is a noble profession and teachers don't get enough accolades. Thank you, Mrs. Greene, for instructing my son.

Update: Watcher caught the misuse of the word confidant. Funny.

Darth Vader Falls On Hard Times

One minute you’re the 2nd most powerful man in the universe, the next minute you’re robbing banks on some primitive planet called Earth way out in the boonies.

But you've still got force choke.

Hang in there, Vader.

Sun Valley, Day 4 - Elk Mountain

After four days of riding we were getting worn down so we wanted a light ride before heading home. Elk Mountain was was the perfect last ride.

We drove to Stanley Lake and leisurely climbed the 450 feet of dirt road up to the trail head. From here it was a gentle down slope through trees and glades with enough rocks and roots to keep it interesting.

Then we emerged into a large and lovely meadow sprinkled with wildflowers and bounded by tree-covered hills and mountains.

We turned right and followed the edge of the meadow and then followed a picturesque stream for a ways.

Then the trail rolled along the forested north skirt of Elk Mountain until we crossed another fairly-large meadow. The trail here was downhill and fast as we flew across the meadow.

With a fantastic view of McGown Peak.

The last few miles of double-track were anti-climatic, but worth it for all the good single-track that preceded it. Back at the car we changed and headed for home.

Sun Valley Summary

I read lots of good reports about Sun Valley. It seemed like a sure bet, but you never know for sure. I'm happy to say that we really enjoyed the trails we rode in Sun Valley / Stanley.

Redfish Lake was our least favorite because we had to push our bikes uphill a lot. But the settings is amazing. Alex rode it and reported that if we had gone the other direction the climb was fine for bikes. So my bad for not going the direction the guidebook suggested.

Andy told me he was disappointed that many of the trails were loose and chewed up from motorcycles. We did see two motos in Greenhorn Gulch - they were courteous. And of all the trails Greenhorn seemed the most chewed up by motos. It was kinda loose and had some trenches and whoops from the motos, but it wasn't bad and I still enjoyed riding there. There was some impact from motos on Potato Mountain, but it didn't degrade the ride much. The other rides were fine.

I was a little disappointed that I couldn't do the big ride I had planned: from 4th of July Lake, down Warm Springs, up Pigtail and down Williams. There was too much snow on the high ridge the trail crosses and Warm Springs Creek was so swollen with runoff that 8 big guys had to lock arms to cross it. Perhaps I can squeeze this ride in later this Summer. Because every trail we rode was good my slight disappointment vanished.

There is good riding in the Sun Valley area, but I feel the best trails are up north 60 miles in the Stanley area. The Sawtooth mountains add a dramatic backdrop to almost every ride. The rides feel bigger and more "out there". And the trails tend to be more rugged and varied. I'm glad we spent more time riding in Stanley, although the trails near Sun Valley are good.

I'm very happy with our Sun Valley / Stanley trip and would go back again.

Sun Valley, Day 3 - Redfish Lake

(Sorry for the break in the Sun Valley reports - things have been busy lately.)

After the Fisher Creek ride we ate lunch and relaxed for a while at Redfish Lake. It's a beautiful place and the lodge and beach are nice.

Reading the guidebook I was concerned we weren't up to the whole loop. So I came up with the idea of taking a shuttle boat to the south end of the lake and riding half of the loop back. Sounded good.

The guys at the marina debated a bit if there should be an extra charge for bikes, but in the end they took us for the regular $8 / person price. We've never transported our bikes by boat before - gave it the novelty factor.

Dramatic views from the lake.

The usual route is clockwise, but the west half of the loop is reported to have some bad trail so we did the east half. We hadn't gone far when the trail got rough, lots of rocks and roots. But it was pretty.

The climb up to the east ridge was technical and steep. We walked a lot. And it was long. At least 1000 feet of climbing. Lots of mosquitoes too (and I forgot the bug repellent). This was not a fun section for us.

Finally made it up, but we were both pretty worked over. Can you tell?

The ridge was good. It's one rock garden after another but most were rideable.

The final downhill was fun.

The trail ended in a campground. We took the road back to the lodge and had one more refill of lemonade. Loaded up the bikes and headed back to our room in Stanley.

Day 4 was Elk Mountain - I'll get the post up soon.

Timpooneke Plus Mud and Mill

I'm knackered.

Met up with TallSteve to do Timpooneke with a twist - add Mud Springs and Mill Canyon. For some silly reason I thought it would be just a little harder. Not.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good ride. Mud Springs is in good shape and was a fun descent. Mill is scenic and the new trail reroute is a reasonable grade to climb, it's just long.

And I also believed riding the Ridge from Mill to Tibble would be mostly downhill and easier. Wrong again. There are 2-3 steep little climbs sprinkled with rocks.

Joy (Deer Creek South Fork) was a blast, as always. Well, except Steve narrowly avoiding a head-on with a motorcycle. Lots of motos out tonight, more than I've ever encountered before.

Didn't have the usual juice going up DCSF, but made it OK.

At the summit the sun was going down fast so we went down Willow then a shortcut on the road and finished with single-track back to Timpooneke.

A fine and pleasant thrashing that seemed to have twice as much climbing to downhill. I'll sleep sound tonight.

Josh summed it up well.

Sun Valley, Day 3 - Fisher Creek

Saturday morning we rode the popular Fisher Creek trail.

The fire in 2005 burned the upper section, but it's still got good flow and the bottom half is forested.

The approach is up Fisher Creek Road. As double-tracks go, this one is pleasant.

The burned section looks stark and, well, ugly. Yes fire is part of the natural process, but I couldn't help pine (ha!) for what it was like before the fire.

The trail snakes down into the small valley below.

Then follows a creek up and over a low saddle.

Leaving the burned area it gets nice, real nice.

The trail bombs down along Williams Creek with fantastic flow. The speed here was a rush.

The trail enters this clearing then climbs up the last hill ...

for a fast descent down a drier but still nice forested slope.

Fisher is a fun trail to ride. It has variety and flow. I recommend it, but I was bummed out by the burned areas - visually and because the trail is dry and loose.

Next up is the Redfish Lake ride which wasn't what we expected.

Potato Mountain Loop Video

Still recovering, no post for Day 3 today.

But I did have time to compile this short video of the Potato Mountain Loop ride from Day 2.

Sorry for the shaky riding segments - I don't have a helmet cam so they were shot hand-held.

This video brings it back - wow, that was a great ride.

(Hint: Start the video then in the bar under the video change from 360p to 480p for better video quality.)

Sun Valley, Day 2 - Potato Mountain & Stanley Lake

Drove up to Stanley today (we'll be here the rest of the trip) and headed for the Potato Mountain (Little Creek Basin) loop.

Started with a climb.

It got steep and we had to push a ways. But it wasn't long and it was a small price to pay for the downhill to come.

It was a surprise to pop out into this big meadow.

There were several stream crossing, and other wet stuff like springs, puddles and bogs. I made it across this one.

The trail followed the stream a long ways.

The climb out Kelley creek was mellow and fun. This was a good ride, I think you can see it on our faces.

Driving out from the ride, the Sawtooths cannot be ignored.

We had some time and leg left so went over to Stanley Lake for a quick ride on a mellow trail up to Bridal Veil Falls. The falls were a bust, but the trail was kinda fun. Here's Jolene crossing the stream.

One last mountain shot.

Tomorrow should be Fisher-Williams and Redfish Lake.

Sun Valley, Day 1 - Greenhorn Gulch

We drove up to Sun Valley, Idaho today for a 4-day vacation of mostly mountain biking.

Arriving in Hailey around 2 PM we checked into the Bed & Breakfast, changed into cycling clothes and headed for the first ride: Greenhorn Gulch.

We'd heard Greenhorn Gulch was good, it did not disappoint. Here's how the trail started:

And after only 50 yards when I stopped to ask Jolene something she spotted this wildflower stunner (Watcher, have you seen this one before?):

At a trail split we went up Mahone Gulch (lots of gulches around here). It is a nice climb in a lovely alpine draw.

At another fork we chose Lodgepole Gulch. It was steeper and may not have been the best choice for a day 1 warm-up ride, but it was a fun trail and the scenery was surreal.

After gaining the saddle we dropped down and past another trail heading to Greenhorn Gulch.

Then climbed again to gain a higher saddle, but now it was all down hill. We thought about taking Imperial Gulch, as it's reported to be a fantastic downhill, but there was another significant climb to get to it and we decided to just go down Greenhorn. Which was very fun and put smiles on our faces. 15.5 miles of amazingly good mountain single-track.

Went back to the B&B, showered, had a good dinner and now I'm sleepy and ready for bed.

Tomorrow will probably be Potato Mountain loop.

Make That Five Canyons

As if Saturday's Four Canyons road ride weren't enough, today we hit up American Fork Canyon to ride some dirt. Gotta entertain the out-of-town guests. Jolene joined us for the ride.

My legs were pretty sore Sunday so I thought this ride was going to be misery. Happily the legs loosened up and I did OK.

We did the classic Timpooneke loop.

Here's the gang about to cross the road.

The top of Pine Hollow (this climb hurt more than usual).

The traditional Timp viewpoint (and I remembered to suck in my gut for once).

Terry was loving it. He favors the mountain bike over the road and he was tearing up the trails. The few stream crossings made him feel at home (Seattle).

Jason S. hasn't been on his MTB in years, and although a bit rusty, he rolled strong and seemed to have a good time.

Jason L. was riding good but had a near-dirt experience. We were riding down Joy (Deer Creek South Fork) just past Coitus Interuptus and I was a few yards behind Jason when suddenly he was flying through the air and his bike was spinning madly even higher. It was crazy how fast it happened. His bike came down and hit him in the helmet and he landed on a log. Amazingly he was unhurt except for a scrape on his forearm. He got up, checked for bodily injury, checked the bike and rolled off. His pedal hit the end of a log hidden in the undergrowth on the edge of teh trail.

The weather was perfect and everything is still vividly green with new batch of wild flowers coming on. The trails were dusty, but that's a small complaint.

Saw Elden and Lisa on the way back.

Arrived in good spirits back at the cars and sent Jason S. and Terry back to Seattle with grins on their faces.

Completing the play day we went to a BBQ at a park with some neighbors. Played water baseball, volleyball, bocci ball, and lots of water fights. Finished the day off with more fireworks. I love Summer!

Four Canyons

I didn't think I could do it.

I used to ride a lot with Jason S. and a bunch of guys at Linux Networx when I worked there a few years ago. Jason moved to Seattle. For his 40th birthday he wanted to ride the four big canyons - Little Cottonwood (LCC), Big Cottonwood (BCC), Millcreek and Emigration to Big Mountain. (Here's the route.)

I thought he was nuts. It sounded like a death march. But he's my friend and this was his day so I was going to show up, even though I fully believed I couldn't finish the ride. In fact, I planned to just poke up the canyons and head back down when the leaders came down.

Why was I so pessimistic about this ride? Because back in 2007 I climbed all of these canyons individually and they kicked my butt.

Yesterday at 6 AM we started up Little Cottonwood. I felt pretty good. After Tanners Flat I got into a good rhythm and motored along pretty good. Snowbird appeared more quickly than I anticipated and it didn't take long to get to Alta. I made it to the fee booth without ever going into granny (full disclosure: I have a triple).

I had fun on the fast descent although it was chilly at the top. We regrouped at the park-n-ride lot to refuel and dump clothing.

The ride over to Big Cottonwood was all-too-short. Time to climb again. I was leery of BCC. It doesn't have the sustained steepness of LCC but it's longer and goes higher. Storm Mountain came up quick, but wasn't too long. The flatter section up to Mill D was a nice break. The steeper section up to Solitude was a grind and I felt twinges in my legs so I slowed down to avoid carmping. The last pitch to Brighton was steep but thankfully short. We refilled our bottles and headed down - another funtastic decent.

At the bottom of BCC we met Jason L.'s wife who had our bags. We ate lunch then continued on.

The ride over to Millcreek was longer. It was nice to warm up the legs and chat.

Millcreek is deceiving. It looks so pleasant with the shade trees and babbling brook. But it's a tough beauty. The many short, steep pitches take their toll. I made it, but was forced into granny for Elbow fork and a few other steep rollers farther up.

Another good descent then a stop at Anne's house to refuel.

A bit more uphill on the ride over to Emigration. The three bridges to get across I-80 were interesting. We turned off Foothill to take the back-roads over to Sunnyside / Hoggle Zoo.

I spotted odd cloud formations all day.

Emigration is mercifully a mellow climb. And we had a tailwind. But my legs we getting pretty tired. Still, we made it up to the top of Little Mountain in good form, all things considered.

A few more bowed out and it was just Jason S., Jason L., Kevin and I going for Big Mountain. When I did this climb in 2007 I remember it being tough and the summit being yet another switchback away. Jason S. and I ground it out together while Jason L. motored ahead. We didn't talk much, just focused on turning the pedals over and toughing it out. Someone had painted the kilometers, and finally meters, to the top on the road and seeing "500m" was a relief, and "200m" even more so.

We made it.

The descent was nice, carving the switchbacks.

I was a bit concerned about the final climb back to Little Mountain. Would we be trapped like bugs in sink? Fortunately the climb is mild, but my legs were shot. We put our heads down and trudged up the last climb.

I had fun flying down Emigration. Near the bottom I took a good pull to get us out of the canyon. A bit more climbing to Donner Park (by the zoo) and we were treated to wraps, fruit, drinks and chocolate birthday cake for Jason.

I'm pretty proud I completed this ride. It had me intimidated. I was sure I'd get cramps and that would end it. But the CarboRocket worked it's magic.

Just for fun, Jason L. figure out that this ride contained three category 1 climbs and one HC (LCC) - this combination of climbs and distance is worse than all but one stage of the Tour. Of course we took way longer to complete it than pros would. But still, made me feel manly.

Here are the stats: 110 miles, 13,580 feet climbing, almost 10 hours (8:40 riding time).

Kevin's report.